You might have heard about Before I Go To Sleep - the debut novel of S. J. Watson. You might have heard that it's an addicting, incredibly well crafted, finely honed suspenseful tale that will leave you turning pages long into the night.
Everything you've heard? All that and more! What an amazing debut! Rights have been sold in thirty countries already and the film rights are sold as well.
Christine wakes up early and finds herself in bed with a middle aged man. One she doesn't know and can't quite remember how she got there.
"Usually I can remember how I get into situations like this, but not today. There must have been a party, or a trip to a bar or a club. I must have been pretty wasted. Wasted enough that I don't remember anything at all. Wasted enough to have gone home with a man with a wedding ring and hairs on his back."
She creeps into the bathroom, but the hand that flushes the toilet looks wrong. And when she looks into the mirror, there's a middle aged woman looking back. That can't be her - she's twenty five, that woman is at least 45... And then the man wakes up and tells her who she is - his wife. His wife who had a bad accident that left her with head injuries and severe amnesia. She literally cannot remember anything from day to day.
"You've had amnesia for a long time. You can't retain new memories, so you 've forgotten much of what happened to you for your entire adult life. Every day you wake up as if you are a young woman. Some days you wake as if you are a child."
Ben her husband goes off to work. The phone rings and she answers it - it's a man who says he is a doctor treating her and tells her to look in her closet for her journal. And along with Christine, we read what she remembers. Until she goes to sleep and forgets it all again.....
Can you just imagine waking up with no memory and reading a journal you've written with what you've learned or remembered about yourself? Every day. As we get further and further into her journal everyday, the questions arise - should Christine trust the doctor - or her husband?
S. J. Watson has done a phenomonal job at intensifying the suspense and building on it in subtle layers. I was reminded of classic Alfred Hitchcock films. The ratcheting tension is thoroughly delicious. The cover art is great too, with the fogged mirror and the woman peering through. Loved it, loved it, loved it!!
Be warned - you won't be getting too much shut eye yourself until you turn the last page of Before I Go To Sleep.